Google can ward off EU antitrust probe into Fitbit deal with data pledge

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google may be able to stave off a full-scale EU antitrust investigation into its planned $2.1 billion bid for Fitbit (FIT.N) by pledging not to use Fitbit’s health data to help it target ads, people familiar with the matter said.

The deal announced in November last year allows Google, a unit of Alphabet (GOOGL.O), to take on Apple (AAPL.O) and Samsung (005930.KS) in the fitness tracking and smart watch market, alongside others including Huawei and Xiaomi (1810.HK).

EU's Michel seeks please-all recovery plan ahead of tense summit

(Reuters) - European Council President Charles Michel on Friday sought to offer concessions to countries across the EU in plans for the EU’s long-term budget and economic recovery, hoping to bridge differences between national leaders when they meet next week.

Michel, who will chair the first face-to-face meeting of European Union leaders since coronavirus lockdowns were lifted, proposed a smaller 2021-27 budget in a bid to make a mass economic stimulus more palatable to thrifty northern countries.

EU lawmakers urge Japan to end parental child 'abductions'

BRUSSELS/TOKYO (Reuters) - The European Parliament urged Japan to comply with international rules on child protection and to allow for joint parental custody after a number of EU citizens were denied access to their children by Japanese mothers.

Unlike most countries, Japan does not recognise joint custody after divorce and children often lose contact with the non-custodial parent.

EU secures potential COVID-19 drugs from Roche, Germany's Merck - source

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has struck deals with drugmakers Roche (ROG.S) and Merck KGaA (MRCG.DE) to secure supplies of experimental treatments for COVID-19, a Commission source told Reuters on Wednesday.

The deals cover Roche’s arthritis medicine RoActemra and Merck’s multiple sclerosis drug Rebif - both seen as potential treatments for COVID-19 - and will secure supplies to any of the 27 EU member states willing to buy them, the source said.

EU rushes to authorize Remdesivir as U.S. hoards it

BRUSSELS, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission on Friday rushed to announce it has given the green light to anti-viral drug Remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19, making it the first drug authorized at the European Union (EU) level for the purpose.

EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said the EU has expedited the authorization, approving the drug, made by American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, in an exceptionally short timeframe.

Still long way to go on EU recovery fund deal, EU official says

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Negotiations towards the European Union’s coronavirus recovery fund still have a long way to go before a summit of EU leaders later this month, a senior EU official involved in the talks said on Thursday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said negotiators aimed to keep the size of the proposed 750 billion euro ($846.75 billion) recovery fund but to reduce the size of the EU’s multi-year budget slightly.

U.S. image worsens in Europe amid pandemic, poll says

BRUSSELS, July 1 (Xinhua) -- A pan-European poll has found that the majority of respondents hold an "increasingly" negative view of the United States amid the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. media CNBC reported on Monday.

The survey, commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations, a pan-European think tank, interviewed 11,000 people from nine European countries from the last week of April this year to early May, reported CNBC.

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